TKA Teacher Honored As Instrumental Music Teacher Of The Year

Wesley Lowe Jr. with Olga M. Vazquez, Palm Beach Symphony’s director of education and orchestra operations. Photo by Capehart Photography

Wesley Lowe Jr., director of instrumental arts at the King’s Academy, has been named the Palm Beach Symphony Instrumental Music Teacher of the Year.

“In what may be a first, our winner was nominated by six different people who all praised his innovative approach and total commitment to his students,” Palm Beach Symphony CEO David McClymont said. “With a passion for developing his students into skillful musicians, Wes uses music as a vehicle to produce dynamic young leaders who will seek to have a positive impact upon the community.”

A local native and TKA alum, Lowe was named the school’s director of instrumental arts in 2019 and has been recognized by the school with its Teacher Excellence Award and Bright Idea Award. The program at TKA has doubled in size through his strategic planning and innovative performance opportunities, including the creation of a new curriculum that extended the school’s instrumental music education to fourth-grade students.

Lowe has been nationally recognized as a quarterfinalist for the 2022 Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum. He developed and manages a student jazz ensemble that received the Improvisational Excellence Award from the Essentially Ellington Festival in 2018 and was named Sweepstakes Award winner at the Atlanta Southern Star Music Festival in 2019.

Similarly, the new marching band program he created called the King’s Regiment is gaining national recognition through game day performances with the Miami Heat and Miami Marlins, as well as in Walt Disney World parades. Lowe’s students have gained additional acclaim with the symphonic band winning the grand champion title at the Atlanta Southern Star Music Festival in 2019 and the middle school and high school concert bands taking home the Best Sounding Bands honors at Festival Disney in 2018.

Fueled by Lowe’s excitement for music and grounded in the techniques he taught them, graduates of his program have continued their studies at such prestigious schools as the Eastman School of Music, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Indiana University, the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, New York University, Boston College and Northeastern University, among others.

Lowe is a member of the National Association for Music Education, National Band Association, Jazz Education Network, Florida Music Educators Association and Florida Bandmasters Association. He holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Palm Beach Atlantic University following his receipt of an undergraduate degree in music education from Bob Jones University in South Carolina.

The announcement was made at the sold-out Holly Jolly Symphony Fête Luncheon, which grossed $214,411 to support the symphony’s educational programming that has served more than 56,000 students in recent years and is a key component of the symphony’s mission to serve Palm Beach County’s broad and diverse community.

The recognition comes with many educational opportunities for the honoree’s students, including coaching sessions by Palm Beach Symphony musicians for spring semester music students, a classroom visit by Symphony Music Director Gerard Schwarz, complimentary tickets for the winner’s classes to attend a Palm Beach Symphony concert and the opportunity for a student music ensemble of the winner’s choice to perform at a Palm Beach Symphony event. Lowe also received a “Basket of Indulgences” filled with gift items and gift certificates.

The annual award honors educators who demonstrate an ability to teach and inspire students as well as who take an active role in the community as performing arts educators. Nominations will open again in fall 2022 for educators in grades K-12 at public, private and charter schools in Palm Beach County with a minimum of three years of experience. Submissions that meet all eligibility requirements are reviewed by a panel of judges that includes musicians, industry professionals and other educators in Palm Beach County.